Monday, January 19, 2015

Week 66

HEY! Sorry about last week. It was CRAZY. Basically, the AP'S just called me on Sunday telling me to pack for Manila... so short notice for you guys, sorry :) Here's a summary!

Manila was so great! It was like a little vacation, I guess. I traveled alone ALL THE WAY to a city called Santo Tomas to meet some of the other missionaries in my batch. I was a little nervous, but I felt confident that I could find my way. And PLUS there was a lady that helped my find the next jeepney going to Tanauan City. :)  We all met up by 3 pm, then we all took a bus together to Manila. Once we got there, we met up with our driver guy at a mall. It was just us missionaries staying the night over at a hotel, the Privato Hotel. The next morning we went to the TEMPLE GROUNDS and then on to the immigration office. Our van had a big sign in the front that said, "LDS MISSIONARIES" with the church logo. :) It was really cute haha! I have never seen so many people of different nationalities in ONE building. :) It was such a testimony builder to me that Heavenly Father loves all of His children no matter where they are in the world, and we are all brothers and sisters.

At the Manila Temple
Sister Buckley, Me, SISTER BURT (MTC comp---boo yah!), and Sister Cassinat all stayed together in the hotel. It was really fun because Sister Burt and I got to catch up and be roommates in the hotel. :) The Pope just decided to make a big visit to the Philippines so when we got there Monday evening, people were out on the town making preparations and such. Manila is a WHOLE lot bigger than New York. It's like 5 New York cities in one. We just got a little dinner and went back to our hotel and talked and went to bed. I HAD A HOT SHOWER FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 17 MONTHS!!!! OH MY GOSH CAN I TELL YOU HOW GREAT IT WAS!!! I didn't even have to wear my slippers (aka, my flip flops) around because it was so clean. That's a plus! I couldn't tell if I was in America or still in the Philippines... The church took really good care of us there at the hotel. 

On Tuesday, we woke up around 5 am and headed all together with the Elders in our batch from San Pablo and combined with the other missionaries from the Laoag and Baguio missions. (They are also headed home on Feb 11.) We all went to the temple grounds and then to the immigration office. We got some nice pictures and finger prints, and all in all our stay was about 6 hours at the immigration office! We went out for lunch to the mall of Asia, and then got on our respective buses heading home. Sister Burt and I traveled to a couple check points together, and then Elder Hale and I traveled on together since we were headed in the same direction. The day ended for me at 10 pm when I finally arrived home from Manila. BEST TRIP EVER! :)

The box was PERFECT. I loved it! The chocolate is pretty much gone because I ate it all...haha... I shared some too, don't worry. I was able to find some things for my companion and it ended up being a great Christmas, so thank you again! :)

My interview with President Mangum was great. I loved talking with him. He talked to me about the desires of my heart and encouraged me to set goals and a vision for myself. Immediately what came to my mind was the temple. The temple is my next step! I know that God has a plan for me, and I'm excited and nervous to see what life brings in 23 days. All I know is, I'm a missionary and representative of Christ for now.

Besides Manila and Zone training and Zone interviews, We didn't get out to work that much this week because of all the traveling. HOWEVER, yesterday we were able to teach a new referral from a member named Sister Mau. She referred a long-time friend and former classmate to us named Lizer. He's a teacher and home school's Sister Mau's son, Hon Hon... (haha I love him...he's like 6 but speaks awesome English and always fills me in on his angry birds happenings at church. Let's just say he's eating too much rice and rich people Filipino foods because he's quite plump! Amy, you'd love him!! )

One of the adorable Ward children
LIZER. Back to Lizer. We taught him the Restoration--which my companion and I were nervous for because he's read the bible like 3 times cover to cover, and let's just say I've only just started to read Acts. I'm definitely not one for deep doctrine. I was expecting him to be ready to rip us apart with Bible stuff, but LO AND BEHOLD the lesson was PERFECT and he is the most humble man I know, despite all his biblical knowledge. We invited him to read the Book of Mormon and to be baptized and he accepted, if he knew it was true. SUCCESS. P.S. I even got to tell the Joseph Smith story in ENGLISH. Definitely felt the spirit in a different way since it was not in Tagalog. That's cool. It's great to work with members to find new people to teach. It's like finding gold for me! I love teaching the restoration.

ANYWAYS, great week. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! I'm happy and working and just loving life as a missionary... I am not sure how I can leave. Especially after teaching and finding and everything. It's the most fulfilling experience of my life. I hope you have the BEST WEEK!  I always think of and pray for you. :) 

Sister Seastrand

Monday, January 12, 2015

Week 65

Hey well, I know I'm writing early this week. Mostly because I'm headed to Manila later today to go to immigration offices and do finger printing with some of the other Americans in my batch. DON'T WORRY I'M FINE. :) I'll be back with my companion on Tuesday night. :)   I GOT MY PACKAGE! :) Thank you so SO MUCH! Everything was great!! I loved the quotes, the "He is the gift" cards, the ENSIGNS! And especially the new WHITE clothing items :) You wouldn't believe how much whiter they are compared to the others haha! I said to myself, "Have I really been living like this for 18 months?! The Lord truly does make things light for a high maintenance girl!" haha....Thanks for  the tape recorder! It was great to hear your voice! :) Thank you so much! I'm so excited to be able to work it and try to figure it out. I opened the package on the bus coming home from a meeting yesterday and when we got home to our apartment I tried to figure out the tape and practice it. We'll see. Anyways, everything was the BEST! Thank you SO SO MUCH. :)

This week has been pretty great. We taught Jen the word of wisdom, and she and Jomar are getting their marriage papers all figured out... Things are coming together for them, slowly but surely, and I just love being a part of their lives. If there are any three people that have changed my life for me, it's: Sister Ricketts, President Mangum, Sister Jen C.

ANYWAYS we got a little punted by our new investigators this week (actually a lot) BUT I'm just holding on. Enduring to the end seems a little rough at times but I know that I need to rely on Christ to get me through rough times. He is the way to get through it. :)  We have a busy week ahead with me going to Manila, zone training meeting, and zone interviews with President Mangum. I'm really looking forward to interviews with him... What a blessing he is to my life and strength for me.

This week I was reading in our True to the Faith about our consciences and something really stood out to me. It says that when we procrastinate our repentance and continue in sin, we can dim our lights of discernment within like as if a "hot iron seared" through it. Our consciences are so fragile! I'm reminded of the scripture in Moroni 10:32, "Yea, come unto Christ and be perfected in Him and deny yourselves of ALL ungodliness." Let go of the pride, and of the ungodliness and we can all be perfected in Him. "and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness and love God with all your heart, might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you.... and if by grace ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God." We will basically gain a strong testimony of God and His Son when we experience His grace.

Have a GREAT week this week and I'll talk to you in a short amount of days! :) LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

Sister Seastrand